You didn't think I was gonna go 0-fer my life, did you?
Gio Gonzalez put Harry Houdini to shame tonight, thanks to a devastating curveball.
In a game that went scoreless through 6 1/2 innings, and which saw both squads strand a plethora of baserunners, the A's made hay in a sun-shiny 7th and took down the reeling White Sox, who lost their 7th straight in a disastrous September not to remember for them. Gio Gonzalez and Tony Peña -- who replaced starter Gavin Floyd after 7 pitches when Floyd's shoulder tightened up -- traded zeroes and wriggled out of jam after jam through six, with the A's big strike coming in the 7th when Peña, who had thrown 100 pitches out of the bullpen on no notice, left the game and Scott Linebrink was inserted.
The 7th began with the Moment We've All Been Waiting For, as Chris Carter broke his occasionally horrifying and eternally frustrating 0-33 with his first ML hit, a solid rope to left. He was removed for pinch runner Gabe Gross, and then the real fun started on the infield: Cliff Pennington beat out a sacrifice bunt when Linebrink's throw went a bit awry, and then Rajai Davis beat out one of his own (this one ruled a hit) to load the bases with no one out. After a Barton RBI groundout and a clutch two-out basehit plating two from Kurt Suzuki, the A's had their 3 runs and were on their way to their 15th shutout for 2010.
Boof Bonser got his first Major League win in two years with a 1-2-3 7th.
Big kudos to Boof Bonser, who retired the Sox in relief of Gio in the 7th for his 1st win in a long, long time. Not much else to say about this game other than Michael Wuertz pitched the 8th and Craig Breslow closed it out in the 9th to secure the shutout for the Athletics, who lead the AL in ERA and who we may see dominate the league in 2011 with the addition of but a few legitimate middle-of-the-order hitters.
The worst thing about tonight (and really symptomatic of the adjustments that must be made for 2011 to live up to its potential) was when first Barton and then Cust took 9 of 11 pitches, many of them eminently hittable, in the 3rd en route to striking out with men on the corners. This seeming preference for the walk has become too much of an epidemic and we need some real 3-4-5 guys in here who are ready to tattoo those 3-1 get-me-over fastballs when the opportunity presents itself. Taking pitches is one thing, but IMO what separates these A's from elite teams like the NYY is this situation, when it's a big hitter's count and our guys seem reticent to swing the sticks. The Yankees take pitches too, and work the pitchers to death in doing so, but you never see those guys shopping at 2-1 and 3-1 meatballs, ever -- they are hacking and smacking and that's why they are who and where they are.
But enough of my nit-picking... this was a good win and you really cannot complain too much when you shut out the other team and win the game. Hey, the Rangers even lost, so the A's are 8 back and not quite deceased for 2010 yet... like I said in the talk-up, I would be satisfied with an above-.500 finish to put the last 3 losing seasons to rest and go into next year with high hopes. Anyway we do it all again tomorrow night at 7, so join Dan the Man at that time, when Trevor Cahill takes the ball in search of win #17 vs.Mark Buerhle at the ColiMausoleum!
Athletics lead the series 1-0
WP: Boof Bonser (1 - 0)
SV: Craig Breslow
LP: Scott Linebrink (3 - 2)
|3 - 0 win|
|Wed 09/22||12:35 PM PDT|